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A taste of China / Food & Drink

Taste of Yunnan: wild mushrooms

By Teng Mu

August 13

Much ado about mushrooms — in Yunnan.

Much ado about mushrooms — in Yunnan.

Yunnan, known as the “Kingdom of Wild Mushrooms” in China, boasts over 800 varieties of edible wild mushrooms, constituting half of all the species in the world and two thirds of those in China. Here are the most popular.

1. Matsutake Mushroom 松茸

Matsutake mushrooms [Image Credit: asean168.com.com]
Matsutake mushrooms [Image Credit: asean168.com.com]
Matsutake mushrooms are extremely precious if wild and one of the most expensive foods in the world by weight. They take 5 to 6 years to grow and require a harsh environment. Matsutake mushrooms are highly sought after in Japan, but Yunnan holds its own with dishes like scrambled Matsutake with green peppers (青椒炒松茸) or just fried Matsutake mushrooms (油煎松茸) on their own.

2. Jizong mushroom 鸡枞菌

Cold Jizong mushroom with sauce [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Sun Jihu]
Cold Jizong mushroom with sauce [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Sun Jihu]
Jizong mushrooms are thin, long, white and chewy. One famous dish from Kunming is braised Jizong mushrooms with soy sauce (红烧鸡枞).

3. Boletus 牛肝菌

Boletus dishes [Image Credit: xinhuanet.com & dayoo.com]
Boletus dishes [Image Credit: www.huanqiu.com]
Boletus is a relatively common wild mushroom on Chinese tables. There are four varieties: white, yellow, black and red. Boletus is thick, soft and usually cooked with green peppers or chicken.

4. Huzhang mushroom 虎掌菌

Stewed Huzhang mushrooms with sauce [Image Credit: xinhuanet.com]
Stewed Huzhang mushrooms with sauce [Image Credit: xinhuanet.com]
Huzhang mushrooms are large in size. While similar to other mushrooms in many respects, they have a particularly pungent smell that sets them apart. Huzhang mushrooms can only be found in deep grass near a cliff-side, limiting their habitat to only a few places in Yunnan. Therefore, they are a very precious species. Huzhang mushrooms are usually stewed with sauce or fried with fresh vegetables.

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